Saturday, July 21, 2007

The day I met JK Rowling

One of the great things about living in a top-class global city like London is that there are always glitzy events and premieres happening on your doorstep! OK, so you may not always be able to get IN but chances are when you move here, you will spot a half-decent celebrity in a matter of months (and no, we're not talking Hayley from Home and Away standard - PROPER celebrities). Anyways, last week I had the joy of attending the UK launch of the new Harry Potter book at the Natural History Museum and met one of the hugest author celebrities of my time - JK Rowling. The four of us won four of only 1700 tickets and had the privilege (?) of queuing at intervals from midnight to get our free copy of the book and met JK herself. They even did the museum up to look like Hogwarts (see left). By 2am I was a little sozzled after some G and Ts in Soho, so I was severely struggling by the time we made it to the hallowed room where JK herself sat - at about 4am. But it was worth the wait. She was almost ethereal - and really is stunning up in person. It is captivating that she has produced fantastical stories that have travelled through the hearts and minds of children and adults the world over - and there I was completely toasted when she signed my (now very much coveted) book. oh well - this just wouldn't happen back in Sydney. Reasons why I love London #467

Thursday, July 05, 2007

When oh when will I go home...

Had some good news this week - got my passport returned to me with a big fat Residence Permit in it, thanks very much. Although the process is now quite smoother for people, it took me almost a year to organise my HSMP! Have to admit, this was not only down to the daft worker who miscalculated my earnings (causing my first application to be rejected) but the fact that I left it five months before applying for my Leave to Remain. But now I have it in my hot little hand - permission to stay until 2009. I know I probably won't be here till then, but it is so nice to have the option should I choose (especially since that without my visa, I would be shipped off home in a matter of weeks). I do feel like I have betrayed Australia a little -having 'UK resident' stamped in my passport. It does make me think about how much i miss home. I thought this was nice - towards the end. It's how I'm sure I will feel about Sydney when I go back.

In the meantime though - there is lots of fun in London to be had. Tomorrow night we are going to see a comedy musical Avenue Q which has been receiving rave reviews and has been recommended to me by countless people. It is supposed to be hilarious so am looking forward to it. Have also spent this week planning a farewell weekend for my brother in Bristol. Yes, I'm being abandoned by my big brother who is leaving the UK after two years to return home to Australian shores. So, Bristol here we come...

Snow (well, almost) in July

Now, don't want to put anyone off who is perhaps sitting around in an Australian winter looking forward to a UK summer - but it virtually snowed here this week. Apparently there was some surge in heat which contrasted with the quite cold temps we have been having, which resulted in a whole lot of snow-like hail being dumped over London (only in England, honestly!). This night I was on my way to try out a fab new bar in Clapham with one of my partners in crime, got off the bus and my completely unsuitable snow footwear was submerged in a pile of ice. See photos...

Most smart people are jetting off to Portugal, Croatia, Spain etc in the hope that when they return the weather will have improved slightly - while I am just sitting here looking forward to my two weeks in California (less than 8 weeks to go - keep plummeting US dollar, thank you!). I am trying to plan a weekend of camping in Cornwall for August (the beachy corner of England) and am currently looking into caravans and tent bookings. Takes me back to my childhood years running amok in Narrabeen caravan park - oh the memories!

Monday, July 02, 2007

A rainy day at Wimbledon

You must understand that getting up at any time before 10am on a Saturday morning is a big thing for me - I just love to sleep and there is no better time to do this than Saturday morning. So getting up at 7am to go to Wimbledon was a big commitment - but i was excited. I was chose to ignore the ominous clouds and smatterings of rain - perhaps this was not such a great idea. But we went to join the famous queue (even getting a sticker saying 'i queued at Wimbledon 2007' for our efforts) and we stood in the rain for two hours building with anticipation before finally entering the hallowed, manicured grounds of Wimbledon. I was thrilled to be there (albeit dressed in a fetching poncho I had procured for free with a purchase of the Daily Mail) so I didn't mind so much that it was grey, rainy and packed. Understandably, I was extremely disappointed when after 8 hours there, both drenched, we decided to call it a day having only seen 40 minutes of tennis. This sounds disastrous - and I have to say I wasn't the happiest camper - but believe it or not, I had a great day. There is something wonderful about finally actually visiting a place that you have heard about and watched on TV since you were a small child. And it does have a festival atmosphere - despite the rain, everyone was happily standing by the courts, devouring strawberries and cream or even standing by the champagne and Pimms tent in the rain. And there were plenty of Aussies around, draped in the flag or in green shorts and yellow clown wigs, there to join the Wayne train. So yes, it was a successful day. And, what makes it the best UK event I have attended so far? It rained, so we get our money back! Now you don't get that at Glastonbury! Best 18 pounds I've ever (not) spent!